Just a few months ago, it appeared that out-of-favour Paco Alcacer had no future at Barcelona.
The Spanish international striker had barely featured in his first season at the Camp Nou and, when Ernesto Valverde arrived to replace Luis Enrique, he appeared to be slipping even further down the pecking order and a departure looked inevitable.
But with less than a month to go until the January window opens, Alcacer’s stock has never been higher in his year-and-a-half as a Barcelona player.
Since the match-winning double against Sevilla last month that appeared to belatedly launch his Barca career, the former Valencia poacher appears to be winning over Valverde and marked his first Champions League appearance with a goal against Sporting Lisbon in midweek.
Now, there are even suggestions that Alcacer could be set to replace the out of form Luis Suarez in Barcelona’s starting XI. The £65 million star is in a rut with just three goals in his last ten games – and it appears that the bench beckons.
It seems a long time, then, since Alcacer was tipped to join ether Crystal Palace or Southampton in the January window. According to talkSPORT in September, the Premier League duo wanted to offer Alcacer a lifeline and, on current form, he’d be a fine addition.
The Saints have scored just 15 goals in 15 games this season and appear to be lacking a player with Alcacer’s predatory, fox-in-the-box instincts.
The same can be said about Crystal Palace, for whom Christian Benteke has not scored a league goal all season. For all the talented creators at Palace, there is no real typical finisher who could grace the service provided by Wilfried Zaha, Andros Townsend and co.
Now, however, it seems that Alcacer will not be leaving Barca any time soon.